Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Electric Minicar from Pinifarina

No plans for the US market, but a partnership of Bolloré and Pininfarina are scheduled to begin manufacturing a new electric minicar for European markets. The corporation is dedicating its efforts to the memory of Andrea Pininfarina -- former chairman of Pininfarina SpA who was killed on August 7th in an accident while riding his Vespa Scooter to work. Pininfarina was a firm believer in the electric car project.

From Pininfarina:

Bolloré and Pininfarina have entered into a partnership featuring all the expertise required to launch serial production of an electric car which, thanks to its technical characteristics and its attractive styling, is bound to make waves in motoring circles.

This car will not be a prototype. It will be a mass production model, with the first units coming off the production line at the end of 2009, after which production will be ramped up gradually based on the availability of the batteries. Built in Turin by Pininfarina-Bolloré, a joint venture formed by the two family-owned groups, the B0 electric car will be powered by Bolloré’s proprietary LMP technology, using a combination of batteries and supercapacitors manufactured in Bolloré’s plants in Quimper, France and Montreal, Canada. The B0 will be a fully-electric vehicle without any carbon dioxide production, having been designed from the ground up with that aim in mind. Its batteries will be housed in a compartment specially designed for that purpose and located under the car, between its axles, lowering its centre of gravity and providing it with outstanding road-holding properties.

With its superb body styled by Pininfarina, Italy’s renowned vehicle design shop, the B0 electric car will be an elegant four-seater, four-door hatchback with an automatic gearbox. Its LMP battery, which will be rechargeable in a matter of hours from a standard domestic main socket, will provide it with a range of 250 km (153 miles). The B0 will have a top speed that is electronically limited to 130 km/h (80 mph) and will feature potent acceleration, reaching 60 km/h from a standing start (0 to 37 mph) in 6.3 seconds. The B0 will also feature solar panels on its roof and hood, so as to help recharge its electrical power reserves.

To be successful in english-speaking countries it will be critical that the company is able to convince potential customers that the name of the car is the "B-zero", not the "B-O".

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